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Real Estate Glossary - A

A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

  • Abstract of judgment,law The summary of a court judgment that creates a lien against a property when filed with the county recorder.
  • Accelerated cost recovery system A tax calculation that provides greater depreciation in the early years of ownership of real estate or personal property.
  • Acceleration clause A provision that gives a lender the right to collect the balance of a loan if a borrower misses a payment.
  • Accelerated depreciation A bookkeeping method that depreciates property faster in the early years of ownership.
  • Acceptance The seller's written approval of a buyer's offer.
  • Access Any means by which a person can enter property.
  • Accessibility The degree to which a building or site allows access to people with disabilities.
  • Accretion The gradual addition to the shore or bank of a waterway by deposits of sand or silt.
  • Acknowledgment A written declaration affirming that a person acted voluntarily.
  • Acre A measurement of land equal to 43,560 square feet.
  • Acre foot The volume of material needed to cover an acre of land one foot deep.
  • Active solar system A system that utilizes electric pumps or fans to transfer solar energy for storage or direct use.
  • Actual age The number of years a structure has been standing.
  • Addendum An addition or change to a contract.
  • Additional principal payment Extra money included in the monthly payment to help reduce the principal and shorten the term of the loan.
  • Add-on interest The interest a borrower pays on the principal for the duration of the loan.
  • Adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) A loan with an interest rate that is periodically adjusted to reflect changes in a specified financial index.
  • Adjusted cost basis The cost of any improvements the seller makes to the property. Deducting the cost from the original sales price provides the profit or loss of a home when it is sold.
  • Adjustment period The amount of time between interest rate adjustments in an adjustable-rate mortgage.
  • Administrator A person given authority to manage and distribute the estate of someone who died without leaving a will.
  • Administrator's deed A legal document that an administrator of an estate uses to transfer property.
  • Adverse possession The acquisition of title to property through possession without the owner's consent for a certain period of time.
  • Adverse use The access and use of property without the owner's consent.
  • Aeolian soil Soil that is composed of materials deposited by the wind.
  • Affiant A person who makes a sworn statement.
  • Affirmation A substitution for an oath granted to people based on religious reasons.
  • A-frame design An interior style that features a steeply peaked roofline and a ceiling that is open to the top rafters.
  • Agency The relationship of trust that exists between sellers and buyers and their agents. The agency is formed through a written contract.
  • Agency closing The process by which a lender uses a title company or other firm as an agent to complete a loan.
  • Agent A person licensed by the state to conduct real estate transactions.
  • Agreed boundary A compromise boundary to which property owners agree in order to resolve a dispute.
  • Agreement of sale A document the buyer initiates and the seller approves that details the price and terms of the transaction.
  • Alcove A recessed section of a room, such as a breakfast nook.
  • Alienation clause A provision that requires the borrower to pay the balance of the loan in a lump sum after the property is sold or transferred.
  • Alkali Mineral salt found in soil.
  • Alkaline soil Soil that contains a higher concentration of mineral salt than natural acid.
  • Alley A lane behind a row of buildings or between two rows of buildings.
  • Allowances Budgets offered by builders of new homes for the purchase of carpeting and fixtures.
  • Alternative mortgage Any home loan that does not conform to a standard fixed-rate mortgage.
  • Aluminum-clad windows Wooden windows with aluminum covering the exterior.
  • Aluminum siding A metal covering that provides an alternative to paint for owners of wood homes.
  • Amenities Parks, swimming pools, health-club facilities, party rooms, bike paths, community centers and other enticements offered by builders of planned developments.
  • American Society of Home Inspectors The American Society of Home Inspectors is a professional association of independent home inspectors. Phone: (800) 743-2744.
  • Americans with Disabilities Act A law passed in 1990 that outlaws discrimination against a person with a disability in housing, public accommodations, employment, government services, transportation and telecommunications.
  • Amortization The process of paying the principal and interest on a loan through regularly scheduled installments.
  • Amortization tables Mathematical tables that lenders use to calculate a borrower's monthly payment.
  • Amperage The strength of an electrical current.
  • Anchor bolt A large steel bolt anchored in concrete and attached to a building to prevent the structure from moving.
  • Annual Any kind of plant that must be planted every year.
  • Annual mortgagor statement A yearly statement to borrowers that details the remaining principal and amounts paid for taxes and interest.
  • Annual Percentage Rate (APR) The cost of the loan expressed as a yearly rate on the balance of the loan.
  • Annuity The payment of a fixed sum to an investor at regular intervals.
  • Anticipatory breach A communication that informs a party that the obligations of the original contract will not be fulfilled.
  • Application A document that details a potential borrower's income, debt and other obligations to determine credit worthiness.
  • Application fee The fee that a lender charges to process a loan application.
  • Appraisal An opinion of the value of a property at a given point in time.
  • Appraisal fee The fee that an appraiser charges to estimate the market value of the property.
  • Appraisal report A detailed written report on the value of a property based on recent sales of comparable sites in the area.
  • Appraised value An opinion of the current market value of a property.
  • Appreciation An increase in the value of a home or other property..
  • Arbitration A method of resolving a dispute in which a third party renders a decision.
  • Arbor An area shaded by trees, shrubs or vines on a latticework structure.
  • Arch A curved structure that supports weight over an area, such as a doorway.
  • Architect A licensed professional who designs homes, buildings and other structures.
  • Architectural fees The fee an architect charges for services. In general, architects charge for their services by the hour, by the square foot, or by a percentage of the project budget.
  • Arpent A French measurement of land equal to .84625 acres.
  • Asbestos A fire-resistant mineral used for insulation and home products that has been found to pose a health hazard.
  • As-is condition The purchase or sale of a property in its existing condition.
  • Asking price A seller's initial price for a property.
  • Assessed value A tax assessor's determination of the value of a home in order to calculate a tax base.
  • Assessment The estimated value of a piece of real estate or a levy placed on property in addition to taxes.
  • Assessment rolls A list of taxable property compiled by the assessor.
  • Assets Items of value which include cash, real estate, securities and investments.
  • Assignor A person who transfers rights and interests of a property.
  • Assumable mortgage A mortgage that can be transferred to another borrower.
  • Assumption clause A provision that allows a buyer to take responsibility for the mortgage from a seller.
  • Assumption fee A fee the lender charges to process new records for a buyer who assumes an existing loan.
  • Average price The price of a home determined by totaling the sales prices of all houses sold in an area and dividing that number by the number of homes.
  • Avigation easement An easement over private property near an airport that limits the height of structures and trees.
  • Awning windows Single-sash windows that tilt outward and up.

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